8 Movies That Should Never Have Been Remade

by WiseFool

If you're unable to improve it, never take on a classic. And, in some cases, the advice should be just don't ever take on a classic.

On one hand, I can understand Hollywood's desire, or perhaps need, to revisit old (and, in some cases, not-so-old) movies. It's flattering - proving that those classics still carry enough interest to bring filmgoers back into theaters.

Great stories are always great stories, and we'll keep coming back to them. After all, we never suggest that nobody should 'remake' Shakespeare. So, I'm not saying that movies are sacrosanct. Far from it, if a good remake can be created, introducing a great story to a whole new audience, that's wonderful.

However, all too often, remakes introduce a new generation to a very substandard version of what was a great story. This leads me to ask: if you can't enhance a film, why touch it? Just leave the original unsullied, in all its glory.

There are many movies that, in my opinion, should never have been remade; here are just eight of them.


Elizabeth Hurley does Peter Cook - Wait, that came out wrong....

Publicity poster fro BedazzledI watched the 2000 version of Bedazzled before I'd seen the original  In fact, when I saw the Brendan Fraser/Elizabeth Hurley remake, I didn't even know that it was a remake. And, in fairness, I thought it was an okay film.

Elizabeth Hurley isn't the best actor in the world, but the script was not too bad and there were some funny moments.

So, this got me interested in the 1967 original comedic take on the age-old Faustian story.

When I got around to watching the original Bedazzled, I quickly realized that the remake couldn't hold a candle to the original.

Cook and Moore's script is much cleverer and more subtle in its humor and its gentle teasing of Judeo-Christian myth.

It almost goes without saying that the performances in the original are far superior.

Now, truthfully, I can't bring myself to watch the Bedazzled of 2000, because I'm constantly comparing it unfavorably with 1967's version. And that, to my mind, is the trademark of a bad remake.

Movie Poster For The Original Bedazzled
Bedazzled, 1968
Bedazzled on DVD

Born Yesterday

Nobody could top Judy Holliday's Oscar winning performance as Billie Dawn

Judy Holliday as Billie DawnBorn Yesterday is one of my all-time favorite films from the Golden Era of Hollywood. Originally a Broadway play, in which Judy Holliday brought the wonderful Bille Dawn to life, the movie went on to score her an Oscar.

Ironically, legend has it that studio execs were 'iffy' about her ability to perform the role on camera, and she only secured the part after Katherine Hepburn helped raise her profile by spreading rumors that Holliday was stealing the limelight from her in Adam's Rib.

Fast forward a little over forty years and it's Melanie Griffith who takes on the mantel of Billie Dawn. Now, I've nothing against Melanie Griffith and she does a passable job as the ditzy blonde. However, when a part has been performed so masterfully, a remake will always pale in comparison.

The original Born Yesterday is a timeless classic, it doesn't need jazzing up or modernizing to appeal to fresh audiences. It's just as pertinent and just as funny now, as it was sixty years ago.

The Funniest Game of Gin You'll Ever See


The shower sequence alone should tell you that the original is untouchable

Why? Why? Why?

I cannot understand why anyone would want to take on a Hitchcock, let alone, arguably, Hitchock's most legendary movie.

Let's face it, there are people on far off islands, as yet untouched by modern civilization, who know of Psycho.

It's pure arrogance on the part of producers and a director to believe that they can top a Hicthcock classic. And, predictably, the remake of Psycho is a grotesque butchering (no pun intended) of the original.

If for no other reason, didn't Gus Van Sant realize that a large part of the film's draw; its suspense, is entirely lost on a movie theater audience that already knows the plot? 


Replicating the chemistry between Moore, Minnelli and Gielgud was always going to be a tough ask

What makes Arthur so good is the chemistry between Dudley Moore and Liza MinnelliI have nothing against Russell Brand or Helen Mirren, but what where they thinking when they accepted roles in the remake of a comic classic?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the original Arthur is untouchably perfect cinema - there are a few things, such as Susan's desire to be with Arthur, that are inexplicable outside the realms of fantasy, but that does not stretch credulity so far as to ruin a viewer's willing suspension of disbelief - at least, in my opinion.

What makes the original Arthur so good is the wonderful and unexpected chemistry between Liza Minnelli and Dudley Moore. And even though it probably isn't the role he would want to be remembered for, John Gielgud did a fabulous job as the sardonic, but lovable Hobson.

The casting could never be replicated, so the success of the movie can never be replicated. Not to mention, that song!


Taking on a Billy Wilder film is a brave, but perhaps foolish, move

I can't think of any other Billy Wilder movie that has been remade. 

Surely nobody would ever think of redoing Sunset Boulevard (the original movie not the musical) or Some Like It Hot?

Like the 90s version of Born Yesterday, the 90s Sabrina was always doomed to be compared unfavorably with its 50s original.

Now, I must just say, I don't love everything about the original Sabrina.

For example, the alarming age difference between Bogie and Audrey Hepburn gives me the creeps (just a little bit).

In truth, the age gap between Julie Ormond and Harrison Ford is not that much smaller, but Ford wears better then Bogie.

Nevertheless, the fact that Harrison Ford seems less of a 'dirty old man' cannot in itself make for a superior movie.

For starters, unlike Emma Thompson, I'm very fond of Audrey Hepburn and think she was a talented actress.

Moreover though, she's an icon - one that many women may try to replicate, but none will ever match.

In the end, although there's nothing particularly wrong with the 1995 Sabrina, there's nothing so great about it that it can supersede Wilder's movie.

And, as we all know, if you can't make a 'better' version, it's a really bad idea to remake it at all.  

Audrey Hepburn as Sabrina
Audrey Hepburn-Dress
The Original Sabrina on DVD

The Pink Panther

I love Steve Martin, but he ain't no Peter Sellers

DVD cover image for The Pink PantherOften, the remake falls foul in one simple way - it's not the story that can't be redone, it's that a particular role is so inextricably linked to one actor, that any attempt to rehash it will result in...well, a hash.

And this is especially true of a part that transcends several films.

Inspector Clouseau is one of those roles.

Alan Arkin couldn't pull it off particularly successfully and Steve Martin certainly doesn't. Clouseau has always and will always belong to Peter Sellers.

We've got to remember that in the original Pink Panther movie, Sellers' role was a fairly minor one. However, he stole the 'show', prompting numerous sequels - of varying quality. It's really, really stupid for any actor to believe that he can match that performance, much less top it.

Funny Peter Sellers Moment

The Flight of The Phoenix

Special effects doth not a classic make

Cover image for the original The Flight of The Phoenix DVDThe original The Flight of The Phoenix could actually have been a stage play, because although it was set in the aftermath of a plane crash, it wasn't really about the aftermath of a plane crash.

The battle to rebuild the Phoenix was the conflict in which the real drama, the human drama, took place.

Where the remake goes so wrong is that it moves the drama, by placing the focus not on the mysterious backgrounds of the passengers, but on the great cinematography and special effects that it can offer.

It's a bit like remaking Brief Encounter and having its principal focus on flashy high-speed trains and panoramic views.

The Flight of The Phoenix is claustrophobic and the interest is created out of the characters' struggles in those close quarters, by opening it up (in an attempt presumably to make it look more modern) what the remake actually does is kill the real drama of the story.

The Karate Kid

Wax on...wax off - need I say more?

There's really very little to say about this.

I appreciate that the remake of The Karate Kid made adjustments to the plot; moving it to China and making it about kung fu, which, to be honest, makes a slight nonsense of the title, but never mind. In fact, the remake could almost be an entirely separate film.

Except, its blueprint is still so recognizable as that of The karate Kid's

As with so many of the movies mentioned above, the remake isn't a horrible piece of cinema, but it's nothing special, either. And if you're taking on a classic, even an 80s classic, you better make sure it is special enough to outshine the original.

Jackie Chan or not, nobody can teach martial arts like Mr. Miyagi.

The Original Karate Kid on DVD
The Karate Kid (Special Edition)
Learn Karate the Miyagi Way
Updated: 03/16/2013, WiseFool
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Is There a Movie You Think Should Never Have Been Remade?

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MaggiePowell on 06/26/2013

Oh.. most movies should never be remade.... "Yours, Mine and Ours" was wrecked, "Cheaper by the Dozen" is unrecognizable, "Father of the Bride" sigh, Spencer Tracy is rolling in his grave. And now, the worst insult of all.... Johnny Depp is set to play Nick Charles in the Thin Man. WHY!!!

MikeRobbers on 05/26/2013

I agree with every entry in your list (especially Psycho). I don't like remakes in general and especially when there is no point in doing so (e.g. European movies or Japanese horror turned into Hollywood spectacle). Perhaps the only valid reason for doing a remake is old sci-fi - action - adventure movies where contemporary advanced special effects would make a difference.

WiseFool on 05/10/2013

Hello, Jericho. Thanks for adding those - two other crimes against cinematic humanity. I agree on both counts. Although Tim Burton's 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' is a little closer to the book in many ways and I love Johnny Depp, I can't see anyone other than Gene Wilder as Wonka. Not to mention, I love the music in the original movie.

AngelaJohnson on 04/26/2013

I loved "Sabrina", both original and new versions. Otherwise, I don't care for remakes and rarely like sequels, either.

MeadowLark on 04/21/2013

I agree with you about "The Pink Panther" and "Arthur". Those gems could never be topped. I just think Peter Sellers was the funniest human of the 20th Century!

WiseFool on 03/25/2013

Hey there, Pinkchic. I highly recommend all of the originals. Great films! Thanks for stopping by.

Pinkchic18 on 03/25/2013

I've mentally added many of these to my "to see" movie list. Nice article!

WiseFool on 03/17/2013

Hello Mira, yeah that was another completely pointless remake. As I recall, Vanilla Sky doesn't differ much at all from Abre los Ojos, so its one of those occasions when you think, "why bother?" I have a feeling, at the time, Penelope Cruz and Tom Cruise was dating, so he may well have had a say in her reprising her role.

Hi DustyToes, I think you're right, but with the internet it's easier than it ever was before to find out that a film is a remake and to get hold of a streamable copy of it. So young audiences are more clued-up than Hollywood would, perhaps, like to believe. Of course, whether young viewers (and by that I mean your average 15 to 20-year-old) would be interested in what they perceive to be an 'old' film is another question.

Oh good gracious, Jo, I didn't even know there was a remake of The Shining - that is sacrilegious. The Haunting is not one that I've seen, but I'll be sure to check out the original rather than the remake after that damning review!

JoHarrington on 03/16/2013

They remade 'The Shining'. Why? And the people who remade 'The Haunting' should have been shot.

dustytoes on 03/16/2013

I'm still catching up on my movie watching after raising kids, so I've missed a lot of them, especially the old ones (my ex couldn't tolerate those). I think that sometimes Hollywood wants young people to think the movies are original - not remakes- so they don't even realize the movie is a remake. I totally agree with Psycho, Arthur, and Karate Kid. One of a kind chemistry between the actors that cannot be duplicated.

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